Last modified on 16 September 2013, at 10:31

Memorizing the Katakana/Tough characters

The difference between shi and tsu is in their stroke direction.

Several katakana look similar and may cause confusion. These are:

シ and ンEdit

and can be thought of as smiley faces looking towards the right. The character with both eyes is a shi (she), while the character with one eye has a nice eyepatch. The short strokes on the top slant towards the right, while the same strokes for and slant downwards.


ツ and ソEdit

and can be thought of as rating systems for waves at a beach. The short lines represent the rating (or people on the beach) and the long line is the coast. A rating of 2 short stokes means tsunami, and two people are running away. A rating of 1 short stroke means soft or so-so waves, with a single person relaxing on the beach.

ウ and ワEdit

, the umbrella, has a ferrule on its top while , the flipped over wagon, does not.

ヲ and ヨEdit

, the (World Wor Won), is rounded like a hand-written 3. , the gangster YO! is angular and has a small line extending on the bottom.

ケ and クEdit

In , the cane (ke), the second stroke (representing the arm) extends over the cane. In , the cup (ku) handle is smooth.


Memorizing the Katakana
The W line Tough Characters Dakuten